One of the ways we can honor these complementary traditions is by using Yoga asana to balance the doshas. For example, with summer here, I recommend placing more emphasis on twists to balance pitta dosha. The summertime months are ruled by pitta and, even if it is not your primary dosha, the fire element is more present in our lives.
Jathara parivartanasana from the ground up
Lie on your back, legs and feet together, arms extended to a lazy “T” (just below shoulder height), palms facing down. Ground your shoulder blades and back of your head into the earth.
1. For the first variation, flex both feet, keeping them together. Breathe to extend the heels away from you as you roll to lift your right hip up and over to the left. Your feet stay side-by-side throughout the pose, which means your right heel will come off the floor. Keep both shoulder blades grounded as you twist.
3. For the third variation, flex your left leg and foot and place the bottom of your right foot on top of your left thigh. Ground your left leg and shoulder blades into the earth, exhale and twist toward the left. As you twist, extend your knee up and away from your right underarm, toward where the ceiling meets the wall.
Hold 15-20 breaths on each side. Come out of the pose by first lifting your head back to center if you turned your gaze, then let the hips follow. Remember to move with your breath as you go into and out of the poses. Repeat the variation on the other side.
Shoulder blade off the mat
It’s not necessary to push the side of your leg or your knee all the way to the ground in the twists. If your shoulder blade lifts off the mat, you have gone too far and the twist will go to the weakest part of your spine. Listen to the wisdom of your body and breath and twist only as far as both shoulder blades will stay on the ground.
Kinking the neck to turn the head to one side
Turning your head in the opposite direction of the twist can help you go deeper, but it’s important to do it in a way that supports alignment and doesn’t cause a kink in the spine. To turn your head, lift it off the ground, turn it and set your cheek down in the opposite direction of the twist.